The San Francisco 49ers are not having a good week. First came the news that Colin Kaepernick may have been involved in what would be at best, unseemly behavior, and now we have the profoundly shocking news reports that linebacker Aldon Smith has been detained for belligerent behavior, and stunningly, allegedly indicating he may have a bomb on his person. Anybody knows that the TSA is nothing to trifle with, so these are serious charges. For now, the Los Angeles Police Department would only confirm that a 25-year-old gentleman was detained at LAX Airport for unspecified reasons, and for the 49ers’ part, as is standard, substantive comment was withheld.
The implications of this are far reaching, and the questions that will inevitably arise go even further. Why is such a promising young man so self-destructive? Why are so many players in the NFL on this course of self-destruction? It is not usually wise to speculate, especially when there is such freshness to the allegations, but this kind of erratic behavior, if it is indeed verified, is similar to the mood swings that devoured the lives of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry and San Diego Chargers legend Junior Seau. This brings to mind, of course, CTE, the burgeoning crisis threatening to take down the entire world of professional football.
It is certainly hoped that Mr. Smith can find solace and receive treatment for whatever ails him, but the common threads that are currently running through the league now seem in place to strangle it. The league must address these issues and quickly if it is to preserve its business model, its reputation and its future. Kudos to the authorities for not letting a very dangerous situation get out of hand.